A SCHOOL program exposing young people to career and education pathways within the dairy industry has delivered its 2020 program online.
Cows Create Careers has historically given students hands-on experience raising a calf, however, the physical learning program was abandoned given restrictive COVID19 measures.
Ten schools took part in last week’s Fun In The Cloud virtual event to finish Dairy Australia’s five-week program.
Students were taken on an online journey through Willbrae Farm where they were introduced to two dairy calves, Bright and Future, through a series of films.
With funding from Dairy SA and additional support from a range of Limestone Coast businesses, students learnt about the environment and on-farm technology and machinery through quirky activities and competitions.
St Martins Lutheran College was crowned as the region’s top-performing senior school in the program while Beachport Primary School won the junior school title.
College student Abbey Freebain won senior first prize while Beachport Primary School student Connor Walters won the junior first prize.
Dairy SA extension officer Kylie Boston said the virtual agriculture experience was a successful substitute for the hands-on animal handling activity.
Ms Boston said while it was disappointing students could not help hand-raise a calf, she hoped the program would return again next year to engage students.
“I know for a lot of students, some kids do not have the ability to have a pet at home,” she said.
“It is great this program offers them that option and there is really just something about hand-feeding and raising an animal which is great for learning.
“Hopefully we can go back to normal next year and if were doing it in Term 3, we may have been able to organise the farmers with the schools.”
Ms Boston said the program – established in 2004 – was beneficial for student learning and raised the importance of farming in the predominately agriculturalbased community.
“People, especially children, do not realise what jobs are available or what each position actually involves,” she said.
“After the workshop they will often be amazed and will tell me they did not know those opportunities were available.”
Yahl Primary School Year 7 student Hayley said she found the workshop eye-opening and helpful as she lived on a dairy farm.
“It tied in well with what my family does. I did know quite a bit about the farm because of my parents, but we did learn more about other farms and what other farmers did,” Hayley said.
“I learnt Victoria does things a bit differently to South Australia, we calf once where as a lot of farms will calf twice and have more cows.
“We also have smaller farms which is why some of us can not do it all year.”
Hayley said she was now considering her future career and hoped it would be something involving animals.